Wizard World Philadelphia 2008

WW Philly Creator Q & A's

Some of your favorite Marvel creators answer questions about the con and upcoming projects

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Words and Pictures by Marika Robak Hey there, True Believers! Have you ever wondered what it's like to be on the other end of a comic con, namely, the creators' end? At Wizard World Philadelphia, I got a chance to interview a bunch of your favorite Marvel comics creators about their con highlights. As an added bonus, I asked each one to talk a little about their upcoming Marvel books, but don't worry, these conversations are spoiler-free (mostly)!
Mark Brooks is the artist on ULTIMATE X-MEN. His other work for Marvel includes THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and NEW X-MEN. Here, he hints at the true nature of Ultimate Banshee.

Mark Brooks

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the con so far? Any highlights? Mark Brooks: Nothing really specific, I'm just have a great time, it's a good show, a fun show, a lot of people, and I haven't been to Philly in three years, so it's good. Marvel.com: What's coming up for ULTIMATE X-MEN? Mark Brooks: Well the first issue [I worked on, #94] came out, and [it featured] Ultimate Alpha Flight, and a mutant-enhancing drug called Banshee. A lot of stuff happens up through issue #97, a lot of revelations. You find out where the Banshee came from, and it's, well...Banshee is more than just a drug, let's put it that way. I think a lot of the fans were talking about how they can't believe that Ultimate Banshee is a drug, instead of a person. So something's coming down the line that should answer a lot of questions in that area.
Mike Choi is the artist on X-FORCE. He also pencilled the X23: TARGET X mini-series.

Mike Choi

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the weekend so far? Any highlights from the con? Mike Choi: For me, it's just meeting a lot of creators that I otherwise wouldn't get the chance to meet. And just doing sketches, I've been doing sketches since I got here. It's just a lot of fun, getting a chance to talk to people, and hearing what people think about what we [the creators] do, and getting people's input on that. That's the whole point, I think, of coming to these cons, and since I've been able to do that, it's been a good weekend so far. Marvel.com: What's coming up in X-FORCE? Mike Choi: There's a lot of cool stuff coming up. For Sonia [Oback] and myself, having worked with [co-writers] Craig [Kyle] and Christopher [Yost] before, we honestly don't really care what they do; they could have, I don't know, Squirrel Girl, or something, and we'd be confident that it's just a kick-ass story that they're gonna want to tell. So far, we know basically what the plots are and who's gonna be in it, and I can't be more excited...I'm bored outta my mind...no, just kidding! I think we're just so fortunate to get a chance to work with all these great writers and editors.
Peter David is an acclaimed writer within the world of comics, having penned titles such as THE INCREDIBLE HULK, WOLVERINE, and SPIDER-MAN. He is currently writing DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME, X-FACTOR, and SHE-HULK.

Peter David

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the con so far? Any highlights? Peter David: It's great, I mean the whole thing is a highlight. Seeing so many people that are so enthused about the upcoming projects we have, seeing all the support that Marvel's getting. Being on a "Legends of Comics" panel, I didn't know that I was a legend, but apparently so. And there was also Chris Claremont, and Tom Brevoort, and Frank Hildebrandt. Marvel.com: That must've been really cool, congratulations on making "legend status!" Peter David: Yes, apparently I'm a legend, I had no idea! And here I thought it was merely a very strong rumor! Marvel.com: What do you have coming up for Marvel that you can talk about? Peter David: Well, my ongoing projects are X-FACTOR, SHE-HULK, DARK TOWER...I have an X-FACTOR: LAYLA MILLER one-shot coming out in August and I'm extremely pleased with the script. Marvel.com: And what's your favorite thing to write out of those? Peter David: You know, it's like saying, "Pick your favorite child." I enjoyed doing all of those projects, all for different reasons. I really can't pick one.
David Finch is the artist on the upcoming ULTIMATUM. Previously, he drew ULTIMATE X-MEN and THE NEW AVENGERS.

David Finch

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the con so far? Any highlights? David Finch: It's been great, it's been a good show, and it's really a beautiful city. We got here early so we got to see some of the sites. Let's see, highlights...I had dinner with C.B. Cebulski yesterday, that was great, it was nice to see him. That's about it, I think the rest of it I've been working mostly. It's been a busy weekend. A lot of commissions, and just trying to keep up with my Marvel work. Marvel.com: Speaking of which, what's coming up in your Marvel books? You're working on Ultimatum now, correct? David Finch: That's what I'm working on. As far as answers or that kind of thing goes, the best thing I can say is that we're killing a lot of people in that book and you know, it's an Ultimate Universe book, which gives us a little more opportunity, I think we can go a little crazy...Jeph Loeb is getting away with stuff that I cannot believe you know? In a way it's a little heartbreaking for me, because I'm so close to so many of those characters, especially all the Ultimate X-Men characters. I'm really loving it, but it's pretty harsh what's going on.
Greg Horn is a cover artist for Marvel. His work includes covers for MS. MARVEL, SHE-HULK, and EMMA FROST.

Greg Horn

Marvel.com: What're you enjoying most about the con? Any highlights so far? Greg Horn: Well it's been busy here at Wiz Philly and I just enjoy getting to meet people, just talking about art, having a good time with the folks who enjoy the same things as I do. I managed to get out of the booth for a few minutes and fill some gaps in my old Avengers collection. My only complaint about the con is that there was not enough bad costumes at this show. Nothing brings a smile to my face like a really ill-fitting, poorly constructed costume. Marvel.com: What do you have coming up for Marvel? I know you're doing covers for MS. MARVEL right now. Greg Horn: I'm just finishing up my run on MS. MARVEL right now, and I'm going to be doing a MS. MARVEL ANNUAL, which will have Spider-Man in it, so that should be interesting. After that, we don't have anything planned immediately, but I've already bugged the guys, letting them know I'm available, and I'm sure they'll come up with something good for me to work on… they always do! Marvel.com: And you did some SECRET INVASION covers for us recently, right? Greg Horn: Yeah, that was for the Marvel.com Who Do You Trust? teaser images. Marvel.com: How was working for the web, did that make any difference for you? Greg Horn: Working on the Who Do You Trust? images was a whole new experience because, the art was posted almost immediately after I had completed them. It was pretty cool to get that instant feedback and it really inspired me to turn up the heat as I went along! With a comic book, sometimes the art will not go public for months after you have finished it and you have to keep it all a secret. That is hard to do…especially when you feel like you did a really great one and you are just dying to show it to somebody!
Angel Medina is the artist for the upcoming mini-series, VENOM: DARK ORIGINS. He has also pencilled THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and THE AVENGERS.

Angel Medina

Marvel.com: What are your highlights of the weekend, so far? What are you enjoying most about the con? Angel Medina: Same thing I enjoy about all the cons, just being a nerd with other comic people...I'm such a huge nerd, and this is only time I can actually talk nerd without seeming nerdy, or just weirding out people, who are like, "What are those guys talking about??" Here, it's cool to talk about the origin of the Sub-Mariner or whatever. Marvel.com: My second question is about the VENOM: DARK ORIGINS project you've got coming up. What can you tell us? Angel Medina: It's supposed to be the ultimate origin for Venom, where we actually start out the series with Eddie Brock as a child, and we see where he starts developing that personality that makes the Symbiote so attractive to him. And from there, all the way to his college years, and then right up to the part where he ends up getting the costume; we get to see everything that leads up to why he gets the costume, and why he gets so attached.
Greg Pak is a writer whose current titles for Marvel include the INCREDIBLE HERCULES and the soon-to-be-released SKAAR: SON OF HULK.

Greg Pak

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the con so far? Any highlights? Greg Pak: It's awesome, I'm having a ton of fun. Having a table is a lot fun. Writers don't always get tables, but they hooked me up with a table and it's cool, you get to meet a lot of fans, folks are coming by...I'm giving out free comics, 'cause that's what I do, entry-level drug and all that. Been doing a bunch of signings, had fun at the panels, it's always awesome for me to go to a convention when I know that Fred Van Lente is gonna be there, 'cause Fred and I are co-writing the INCREDIBLE HERCULES, and we like hanging out. Marvel.com: Yeah, how is that? Is that like a tag team writing process, or, how does that work? Greg Pak: Yeah, it's a genuine collaboration, so we sit down together and hash through what's gonna happen during the course of a given storyline, and then one of us will sit down and bullet point an issue and then we split up the pages, and then we go back to work on that, we look at each other's stuff, then we'll split up the pages, like sometimes I'll do the first half and he'll do the second half, or vice versa, or sometimes I'll do the opening and closing, and he'll do the middle, or something like that, whatever seems to make sense. And then we write our thing, we send it to the other guy, the other guy edits and tweaks and sends it back, and then we're like, "Okay it's good." We go back and forth like that. Marvel.com: My second question is about your upcoming projects for Marvel, INCREDIBLE HERCULES and SKAAR: SON OF HULK. Anything you can tell us about what's coming up? Greg Pak: Well SKAAR is the first one to hit, it's gonna be June 11, that's the first issue, and it's gonna be tremendous. It's the story of the son of Hulk, abandoned, left behind on the this alien planet, this savage alien planet, [because] the Hulk didn't know that he survived. Savage man-child, born in fire, raised by monsters, and destined to conquer! And that's SKAAR: SON OF HULK! It's gonna be a giant story, and we've got a whole slew of new amazing supporting characters, and Ron Garney is doing the art, and we're just hitting the roof on this thing. And INCREDIBLE HERCULES, co-writing with Fred Van Lente, we're in the middle, right now, of the "Sacred Invasion" storyline, which crosses over with the "Secret Invasion" summer blockbuster, and the basic premise is the Skrulls have invaded Earth, and what're the gods supposed to do? Well, Hercules is leading a crazy group of gods to go and kill the Skrull gods. That's what's happening. And finally, just at this convention, we announced MAGNETO: TESTAMENT, which is a new [limited series] and it's Magneto's origin story. [Editor] Warren Simon's been wanting to tell the story for a long time, and we've been working together on it for about three years now, so it's really exciting to be finally bringing it out into the world...and that's gonna start hitting in September. Marvel.com: Sounds like you're trying to precede the movie? Greg Pak: Well, I think Warren's had this notion many years before, and it's a great idea, so clearly other people have had it as well. It's nice when there's something going on in the movie world as well, because it makes the book get a little extra buzz out of that. Marvel.com: Well, I think it'll be cool that this story comes out in the comic books before the movie comes out. Greg Pak: Oh yeah, definitely.
Khoi Pham is the current artist on MIGHTY AVENGERS.

Khoi Pham

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the con so far? What're your highlights? Khoi Pham: I like the con a lot, it's my favorite con, since it's my hometown con. I started out here in 2003, I did the Marvel portfolio review...way back at this con is when it all started, so I really love this one. Marvel.com: My other question is about what you're working on for Marvel right now...you're doing some "Secret Invasion" tie-ins? Khoi Pham: Yeah, I'm doing MIGHTY AVENGERS right now [and] it's the "Secret Invasion" tie-in stuff, so I think a couple of other artists will be jumping in. Marvel.com: And what's coming up? Khoi Pham: Exactly! But yeah, I'm just gonna draw and draw, try to figure out what's in [writer] Brian [Michael Bendis'] head, try to put it on the page as close as possible, 'cause he writes really intricate and deep scripts, so, there's a lot of activity, a lot of stuff going on, a lot of nuances. It's real fun all the time. And I find that with him and [Executive Editor] Tom [Brevoort] and the other folks at Marvel, I just feel like I'm getting better, which is always the exercise for me, I want to be where I am. Hopefully, with each project, and maybe even with each book, people can see some kind of improvement along the way because I'm not necessarily where I want to be, so enjoy the ride!
Duane Swierczynski is the writer for CABLE. Here, he discusses the upcoming KING SIZE CABLE SPECTACULAR.

Duane Swierczynski

Marvel.com: So when is KING SIZE CABLE SPECTACULAR coming out? Duane Swierczynski: It's due out in September. Marvel.com: Okay, great. And what's it about? Duane Swierczynski: In CABLE so far, it's been from Cable's point of view and [it's not from] Bishop's point of view, [who has] been trying to chase Cable down, and chasing him through a city is hard enough; he's been trying to chase him through space and time, which, is impossible almost, but Bishop's determined that he has a way to do that. It's a clever way, I think, and we follow how he does it. Marvel.com: What's it like working with artist Ken Lashley? Duane Swierczynski: Oh he's great, he's fantastic, his stuff...I mean, both artists I've worked with on CABLE, Ariel Olivetti and Ken, their stuff is just so huge and eye-popping, it's fantastic. It feels sort of like it's a movie poster. And it's great to work with Ken, his work is just fantastic. Marvel.com: I know different writer-artist teams have different ways of working together. How do you work with your artists? Do you give them a lot of details of how you envision the book? Duane Swierczynski: I try to balance it, because I think you can go too far and get too detailed, and I think that's less fun for [the artist], where it's like "Oh god, just ignore this guy," or it can be too spare. My tendency, in the past, was to be too spare with things, so I try to keep a balance; you know, you're [both] telling the story, the artist and writer [each] share half the burden equally on the story. So I try to keep that in mind. Marvel.com: So how does this story fit into the regular CABLE series? Duane Swierczynski: It picks up after CABLE #5, and kind of sets up CABLE #7. #6 is a stand-alone...you're gonna see a lot of Cyclops in that one actually. It's right in continuity. A lot of one-shots, a lot of annuals and specials are like extras, this is actually really important and fits with the story... Marvel.com: Why did you want to tell a story from Bishop's point of view? Duane Swierczynski: It's always fun [to tell a story from different points of view]. As a novelist, I like to hop around the heads of the [different] characters in my books; I was never able to stay with one character too long, me personally, that is. So I'm dying to tell his story a little more than I have. I mean, there've been glimpses, but I've been wanting to get inside his head for a while, see what's going on. Marvel.com: And last question, what's coming up in CABLE? Anything you can reveal to us? Duane Swierczynski: Issue #4 is out [this] week, and the arc is coming to a close soon, I hope there's a few surprises and a lot of insanity. Actually, I think the biggest thing [coming] is that the rules of the game are going to change a lot. People may think it's all about people mischief-hopping-through-time, taking shots at each other, but things will change dramatically after issue #5.
Billy Tan is the artist on upcoming issues of NEW AVENGERS. His previous work for Marvel includes X-23 and UNCANNY X-MEN.

Billy Tan

Marvel.com: How've you been enjoying the weekend so far? Any highlights? Billy Tan: Well, it's fun, comic conventions are just fun, you get to meet fans, hear information from fans, and you get together with your friends. That's maybe not much highlights from me, but I guess you could say I consider all of [the con] as highlights. It's a relaxing weekend for me. Marvel.com: That's good! I've talked to a lot of different creators and some of them seem kinda stressed out about it. Billy Tan: Well, maybe, they maybe take on too many commissions, and then they have to play catch-up, but for me, it's just relaxing. Marvel.com: Good to hear. My other question is about what's coming up in your books for Marvel? You're doing some Avengers "Secret Invasion" tie-ins? Billy Tan: Yes, I'm working on my third issue [of NEW AVENGERS], issue #44. The opening scene is the Illuminati, and after a few pages, it's gonna be a big surprise, all of it. I'm really excited!
Fred Van Lente is the writer for INCREDIBLE HERCULES, WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS, and the recently announced fall 2008 MARVEL ZOMBIES 3.

Fred Van Lente

Marvel.com: How're you enjoying the weekend so far? Any highlights from the con? Fred Van Lente: It's been awesome. This is my first time as a "special guest." So I got to...come in on the train, I got a hotel room, went to some museums since they sent me out early...you know, it's nice to be pampered. I usually have a table for my own company, Evil Twin Comics, so I'm usually dead tired, bone tired, exhausted at the end of every con. Now I'm refreshed, going tonight to a Phillies game with some Marvel people, gonna have a good time. Marvel.com: What's coming up in your books? You're doing WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS and MARVEL ZOMBIES 3? Fred Van Lente: Yep, we've got some MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 magic coming up. Well, obviously I guess we'll start at the beginning of the list... [In] INCREDIBLE HERCULES, we're currently crossing over with "Secret Invasion," with a storyline called "Sacred Invasion." The first issue just came out and sold out! Whoo whoo! Second printing coming soon, in which Hercules and a bunch of other gods get together the God Squad and they go to beat up the Skrull gods, since, as [MIGHTY AVENGERS writer] Brian [Michael Bendis] has set up in [the Avengers titles] and SECRET INVASION, this is a religious-based war. Their logic is, "Kill the gods, no more religion! Problem solved, let's all go home early!" Marvel.com: Sounds pretty epic. Fred Van Lente: Yes, it is epic, and it involves encounters with Nightmare and the Dream Time, hundreds of slave deities that the Skrulls have conquered over the centuries, and death, and romance, and the coyote pup, and what more do you want? In WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS, we're in the middle of an arc with the High Evolutionary and his New Men, in which Wolverine and Kitty become the new Knights of Wundagore, and then after that, one of my all-time favorite super teams shows up, Alpha Flight, in a flashback to one of Wolverine's adventures when he was a member of Alpha Flight...even though I guess the hardcore Alpha Flight fans would say "It wasn't called Alpha Flight then!" Don't write me angry e-mails, folks, I know about all the craziness. ...And MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 will be totally awesome! It's going to be the Marvel Zombies invade the Marvel universe, with some long-lasting continuity ramifications for the Marvel U, particularly for one hero in particular, one of my favorites, a Kirby creation...we'll get to see the Florida Initiative team for the first time, and let's just say, they have a really tough time with it. Pity the Sunshine State, folks.
For more cool stuff about Wizard World Philly 2008, check out the Marvel.com's Wizard World Philadelphia hub!

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